The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo


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In Canada, where 26 percent of all inmates leave with fatal incurable diseases, a program is being set up where professional tattoo shops will be placed in prisons. They will be up to health-code standards and staffed by prisoners. This will enable prisoners to learn about a profession as well as get clean tattoos. U Becoming heavily tattooed will change your life. U Face and hand tattoos can make it difficult to get a regular job. U The military has restrictions about its soldiers getting tattooed. U Tattoos serve as insignia for gangs and other social-fringe groups.

Tattooists became very secretive and very competitive. Sharing secrets was unheard of. More connections and friendships began to be made. Tattooists from Europe and America started to work together more often. Tattooists sold their designs to other tattooists, which further spread different concepts. More and more new ideas were available for reference.

With the Internet, the spread of ideas and concepts became instantaneous with thousands of designs on the web. Individual tattooists could show what they were doing, which many times was something new outside the boundaries of a label. People who want to get tattooed also need a variety of designs to choose from. This is where flash comes in. Flash is the collection of designs for tattoos in a tattoo shop. Any design that is made so that many people can get it tattooed is considered flash. These pieces of paper are displayed throughout the tattoo shop so you will have a variety of designs to choose from.

You can also use the designs to get an idea of what you want to have tattooed, as flash can be used for really good reference material. As previously stated, having flash designs enables a tattooist to do many tattoos in one day. Just using flash keeps the tattooist from having to draw each tattoo from scratch, which can take hours to do. Many different people choose the same design over and over. It is not uncommon for a tattooist working in a street shop to do the same design more than twice in one day.

Traditional sheet of flash by Bailey Robinson. There are so many reasons why people get lettering tattooed on them. It can be the most direct and obvious way to express yourself. Often lettering is used as a memorial of a lost loved one such as a relative or friend. In many tattoo designs, lettering is used to enhance the design. Lettering can be very decorative, large, and creative or it can be small, plain, and basic.

It all depends on personal taste or just what you want to say. It can be quick and simple or highly decorative. Many people will get their name or a name of a loved one in script, as it can be quick and not so expensive depending on the amount of detail. A word written in a good script can really enhance a tattoo design by making it more decorative and intricate.

An example of script lettering. Historically, script lettering was developed and came to popularity in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was created because there was a need for a faster form of legible standardized writing. Writing a word in one single stroke is much faster than printing each individual letter.

One example of script can be seen in the American Declaration of Independence. The advent of the typewriter and then the computer has taken away the importance of script, leaving it to be more of an art form than a way of communication. The skill of good script lettering is necessary in being a great tattooist.

Many tattooists will practice script for hours to make sure they get it right. Flash Tip Script writing looks best when it is written horizontally from left to right. Blackletter was created around C. Old English the language was pretty much out of use by C. The Old English language was originally written with a runic alphabet before the introduction of the Latin alphabet around A. Just as script was used to improve the efficiency of handwriting, Blackletter was created to replace Carolingian Minuscule, which was used to reproduce religious texts.

As more and more secular books needed to be reproduced, and all books were made by hand in this era because it was before the invention of the printing press, a faster and more modern lettering was needed.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting a Tattoo

Blackletter was the answer. Its popularity ended in the sixteenth century with the exception of Germany, where it was used up until the twentieth century. It is very bold yet slightly decorative. As we learned in Chapter 2, Old English lettering is used for tattoo designs by almost every gang around. The popularity of it in mainstream America was broadened by the various bands and rap groups who had the lettering tattooed on them.

Before that, it was popular with rockers, who preferred large lettering across the stomach or across the upper back. The smallest you can go with Old English lettering is about three quarters of an inch. If you want the lettering smaller, better to go with a simpler form of lettering. Old English lettering. Since then, modern graffiti has expanded all over the world and has become intertwined with many different industries. Modern graffiti lettering has become popular in tattooing in the last 15 years. If Some graffiti legends from New York City have you want to get a tattoo with graffitibecome tattooists such as style lettering, go to a good graffiti MED and SEEN, who both artist-turned-tattooist or just have a have opened up their own graffiti artist draw it for you.

Only tattoo shops in the Bronx. Some people just want something quick and fairly basic. Many shops will have a book of computer fonts to choose from and many people just get some form of computer font instead of something custom like script. Often Old English lettering is just printed from the computer.

Using a computer font is a very efficient way to get lettering tattooed. The tattooist can simply manipulate the lettering on a computer; if you want the lettering on a curve or printed vertically, it just takes a few clicks of a mouse. The size can also be changed very easily on the computer. As we know, that is perfectly fine as long as the design is simple and not too small. For lettering to be small, it has to be very basic in order to be legible and not to turn into a blob in 10 years. Simple lettering in a banner will make it easier to read. Tattoo by Steve Byrne. Many times the banners will be too small for any fancy lettering such as script to fit inside them legibly.

This is when you will want to use basic lettering. It will look much better and will be easier to read than trying to cram fancy lettering into a design. It is bold, simple, and will age well. It also allows for some color to be added in the thick parts. This style of lettering can be found in many Sailor Jerry designs. Traditional thick and thin lettering. Traditional thick and thin lettering can be tattooed relatively small, making it good for banners.

It is a little fancier than basic lettering so it can add some decoration to your tattoo without becoming overbearing. It is often used for finger tattoos due to its bold simplicity. A shadow or line is placed next to the lettering, usually down and to the right, to make it appear more three-dimensional or just to make the lettering more dynamic. Drop shadows can be in any direction or even be done to a one-point perspective when the perspective comes from one fixed position.

They can be done in black or color, but are usually done in gray. Tattoo by John Reardon. Words written in Chinese or Japanese are popular tattoos. The classical Indian language of Sanskrit is popular as well. These are all well and good to have tattooed, but you must remember that most tattooists do not understand how these languages are written or put together. They may not know how to correctly calligraph the design if it is not already calligraphied.

Examples of Chinese writing that are very popular to have tattooed. Tat-tale In a tattoo shop, not too far away, a large man was having his name, written in Japanese, tattooed on his neck. The man had decided to bully a reluctant Japanese waiter at a nearby restaurant into writing the name on a piece of paper. The Internet has many translating websites that make getting a foreign-language tattoo much easier. Be aware, with Chinese and Japanese, putting certain characters next to each other may change the meaning. Also, if you want to get your name tattooed in a foreign language, it may not be possible.

Your name will not exist in their language. The Japanese language does have a set of characters designed for foreign languages. You may be able to have your name written in that. Many themes are repeated over and over. They are translated by each tattooist and developed into something new over time. As we will see in Chapter 8, each tattooist has his or her own style of drawing. This is also true with flash designs. You may see many tigers on the wall but they will look different, depending on who drew them.

These are major styles that have become most popular. There are many tattooists who carry on the tradition today and still tattoo the original designs or very similar variations of them. It was Leo Zulueta who pioneered modern tribal tattoo designs in the early s in California. Tribal is generally tattooed with all-black ink, which makes it great for the aging process.

You can have color or gray incorporated into the design depending on personal taste. When looking for a good tribal design, it is important to remember that the negative space around the design is as important as the tattooed part of the design. A few basic examples of modern tribal designs. You can always have a custom tribal design drawn that will have meaning to you, but there is no hidden language to speak of.

Some designs may be in the shape of an animal or mythological beast like a shark or a dragon. Some of the most popular tattoo designs are a tribal armband or a tribal tattoo placed on the lower back of a woman. A tattooist must be very good at drawing and be very experienced with the medium to do this kind of tattooing. If you want to get a tattoo like this, find an expert or you may end up with an unfixable mess.

When getting a portrait-style tattoo of a loved one, such as a family member, there are a few things you will need, and need to know. Bring a very clear photograph, preferably professionally done. Snapshots may not work and Polaroids are out of the question. To get the correct amount of detail, the face must be around 3 inches, if not larger, when tattooed. Some very skilled tattooists can do it a little smaller. The tattoo will look like the photo. Use a photo that is characteristic of the person you want a tattoo of.

Using black and gray is the easiest way to have the portrait tattooed but some tattooists can do an amazing job in color. For realistic tattoos of subjects other than someone you know personally, like a musician, character in a movie, or some kind of animal, the same rules apply as with portraits. Usually you will be able to find the photo or image you are looking for on the Internet. Magazines such as Rolling Stone or National Geographic are good sources also. Just remember, the tattoo will look like the image you bring to the tattooist. Realistic tattoo. An example of this style can be seen in the design of the movie series Alien.

The style combines organic and natural design with industrial design. It was Aaron Cain who made the style popular with tattooing in the s.

Things to know before getting a tattoo - NHS

Biomechanical is a good design style for covering old tattoos. There is a lot of detail, which will help camouflage the older tattoo, and it is a style that can be quite dark and still look good. Biomechanical tattoo by Matthew Amey, www. It is characterized as having thick bold lines, plenty of black shading, stiff or static drawing, and a very simplified and flat appearance. Often the designs will have few colors, usually consisting of red, yellow, orange, and olive green. Traditional tattoos are very good at standing the test of time.

Sailor Jerry Collins was known for his style and is a huge influence on traditional tattooists today. Traditional tattoos have had a huge revival in the last decade. Many tattooists specialize in this style. They use designs from the early twentieth century. In the book, different tattooists from around the world redrew old flash from the early twentieth century.

New School tattoo designs combine traditional and Japanese themes with a modern graffiti style. They allow for more dimensional shading with the use of one or more light sources.


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The lines of New School tattoos will often be calligraphied. The style allows for very bright colors and animated drawings. New school tattoo by Brian Awake. They are characterized by relatively large images of Japanese folklore or traditions in the foreground, such as a hanya mask or a dragon surrounded by a stylized black and gray background of clouds or water. The designs are elegant, and they fit to the body well. One Japanese tattoo style, which is called a body suit, can cover your entire body. Only a master of this style such as Horiyoshi III or Horitoshi will be able to create tattoos of this caliber.

Today, many tattooists from around the world work in this style such as Filip Leu and Alex Reinke. It takes many years to learn the style of Japanese tattooing and requires a study of Japanese culture. Many tattooists combine the Japanese style with other elements or themes of tattooing. It is characterized by having two pointed horns and sharp teeth much like a western devil. The image can also be used to scare off evil spirits by hanging a mask on a wall in your house or having it tattooed on your Japanese style tattoo by Mike Rubendall, www.

The style uses thin lines made with a single pin needle or a three-pin needle, and has very smooth and dimensional black and gray shading. The designs are often accompanied with fancy script-style lettering. Often religious themes such as a sacred heart or the Virgin Mary will be used. Tattooist Jack Rudy, who has been seen tattooing Jesse James on Monster Garage, is one of the artists who made innovations in this style and helped to popularize it in the late s. Often tattoo shops located in or near a tourist destination will be bombarded with people who just want small little collectables.

There are a few designs that seem to be the most popular for this situation. They are often used to decorate other themes such as the Virgin of Guadalupe. A small rose is a symbol of love and romance. Many times the name of a lover will be tattooed with a small rose. A simple rose design by John Reardon. The design allows for lots of bright colors and can be added to later with flowers or more butterflies. Butterflies are a symbol of change, as they change from a not-so-attractive caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.

They are also a symbol of joy. A traditional butterfly design by John Reardon. Dover publishing www. You can find a design for a tattoo anywhere. You can use flash designs for reference or even as the entire piece, but most tattooists, if putting so much energy into such a large piece, will want to customize the tattoo.

It will make the process more personal for both of you, and you will have an original tattoo that no one else shares.

Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting a Tattoo by John Reardon | eBay

When looking for ideas for a large tattoo, it is best to start looking through portfolios with custom tattoos so you can see what can be done. You may see the idea you are looking for. Many people like to get traditional tattoo ideas like a dragon or a battle royal. A battle royal is a battle between an eagle, snake, and a dragon usually done in a traditional tattoo style. One of the best ways to find an idea that most suits you is to think of all the stuff that you are into, like cars or antiques.

What are your hobbies? What do you collect? What do you do on the weekends? Has there been a moment that has changed your life that you want to remember? Is there someone who has influenced you such as a historical figure? Research these ideas and events at the library or on the Internet.

Put together a folder of reference material and maybe a little synopsis so that the tattooist can have a good idea of what you want. Your tattooist will guide you as to what works best and will shoot some ideas at you to make it better. Often he can explain how to decorate the idea to give it better design. With the right references for your subject, a good tattooist can turn it into a great tattoo. U Script and Old English are the most popular fonts that people get tattooed.

U You will find a few basic styles in the flash racks in a tattoo shop. U Some popular small tattoos are nautical stars, roses, and butterflies. It is important to understand the details of how the ink stays in your skin and the different layers of your skin. This information will help you to properly care for your tattoo. In this chapter, we will go over the fundamentals of tattooing, such as how tattoos stay in the skin and how they age. We will also go over the different pieces of the tattoo process as well as what to expect as far as pain.

It weighs more than any other organ, coming in at a whopping 15 percent of our body weight. Skin protects us by keeping disease from entering our bodies. Skin also protects us from Skin is made up of three the harmful rays of the sun. Most layers: the epidermis, the important, skin is where we keep our dermis, and the hypodermis. Because your skin is the outermost layer of your body, it is what everyone sees. This seems like an obvious concept, but the importance of that fact has led to numerous multibillion-dollar industries.

How much do people spend on skin products to keep themselves looking young? How often have you gone tanning? What brand of soap do you use? These all involve your outermost physical layer, your skin. Layers of skin. You probably studied the physical aspects of skin in some form of high school biology class. Understanding your skin will help you to understand how a tattoo works. It is the waterproof layer around your body. The waterproofing caused by keratin, a tough and insoluble protein. Carrots are a good source of keratin. As the cells of the epidermis move away from the body, they become cut off from the blood supply.

Being removed from the blood source, the cells die and they are filled with keratin, making them stronger. This strong layer gives you more protection from disease. The epidermis is also where melanin is produced. Melanin is the dark pigment in your skin made by melanocytes, which reside in the very first layer of your epidermis, directly above the dermis. The made by your skin to protect more melanin your skin proyour skin from the harmful duces, the darker your skin rays of the sun. It contains all the good, fun stuff, which gives your skin life. In the dermis are hair follicles, blood vessels, and sweat glands.

It is also where the nerve endings are. The nerve endings enable us to feel sensations such as heat and cold and getting a tattoo. As we will find out, the dermis is also where the ink for the tattoo will stay. This layer is mainly for storing fat and holding some proteins. The thickness of the hypodermis depends on the amount of fat stored in the body. A tattoo is similar to a mini-implant. You are implanting tiny granules of color into your skin. Your skin has cells der material that is the base called phagocytes. The phagocytes of inks used in tattoos. When the tattoo is fully healed, the color particle will become trapped in place.

It is trapped in the connective tissues just below the border between your epidermis, the first layer, and your dermis, the second layer. Ink is implanted by a needle. Because melanin is produced just above the dermis where the tattoo pigment will reside, the melanin will dilute or partially block the reflection of light from the tattoo pigment. This is why tattoo ink color is not as bright and is harder to see on darker skin. The pigment of a recent tattoo is very easy to see because it is so close to the surface of the skin.

However, as time goes by and skin ages, the pigment slowly recedes more deeply into the dermis layer of the skin. This puts more Inkformation tissue between the tattoo and the top layer, making the tatAn accidental stabbing too appear blurry and harder with a pen or pencil where the skin has been to see. This happens over penetrated can permanently decades, so no need to worry.

Standard flash design. Different techniques of putting pigment into the skin have emerged, as well as different designs. Some cultures created large ornamental tattoos while others were satisfied with smaller designs. There are three different techniques that are the most popular today. One technique, which can be found in prisons or in the hands of the less professional, is the single sewing-needle technique. All you need to perform this kind of tattoo is a hopefully sterile needle and some nontoxic, clean ink. Hand-poked tattoo by Wes Nile. One can put a little ink on the skin and poke away or use a thread wrapped near the tip of the needle to hold the ink.

This technique is not the best and requires lots of time and patience for good results. In the right hands, however, fun and interesting tattoos can happen, which will mark an experience you will never forget. The second technique is a more developed version of the first.

With for tattooing. The rod is usually no longer than a foot and a half. The tattooist dips the needle end of the rod into the ink cap and then pokes the skin rhythmically. In the right hands, this technique can be very fast and extremely solid and dense. A priest or monk will use a long metal rod, which is pointed at one end. The pointed end is dipped in ink, then used to tattoo. Traditional Japanese tattooing by Shinji. The third technique comes form tribal tattooing in the Pacific. A stick with a sharpened bone or stick on the end of it, at a 90degree angle, is held over the skin and then tapped into the skin with another stick.

Nowadays, many traditional tribal tattooists will use a sterilized needle on the end of the tattooing stick. These tattoos are usually geometric in design and can be quite painful. If you walk into just about any tattoo shop in the world, the tattoo you get will be done with an electric tattoo machine. It is the most efficient way to do tattoos. Machine work is generally faster than tattoos done by hand, which enables tattooists to do many tattoos in one day.

A one-point tattoo is a tattoo that is usually done in one session and drawn from one vantage point. Usually first-time tattoos are one-point tattoos. One-point tattoo by John Reardon. They are also nice if you want to get tattoos to commemorate different times in your life. There is less of a commitment with a one-point tattoo, and because of its smaller size, it can be easily hidden if you need it to be.

As tattooing is becoming more and more accepted by mainstream society, more people are getting large tattoos such as sleeves, a tattoo that covers the entire arm. Large tattoos can cost as much as a car, but they will last much longer. Socially, large tattoos will change your life. You will almost always stick out in a crowd if you have many visible tattoos. It is inevitable to feel something while under the needle. Some people say they like the feeling of getting a tattoo.

However, some places are very sensitive. As a general rule, your first tattoo will be the easiest. Most first-time tattoos are very small and take only 10 to 20 minutes, tops. That is a very short time-period to get tattooed. By the time you get used to the feeling, you are done. There is not even enough time to complain about it or take a break. The most painful spots can be easy to handle if the tattoo is small.

Flash of a small rose and heart. There is more to endure with any tattoo that takes over an hour. With larger tattoos, placement is a factor. If you do not like pain at all, you will want to get your tattoo on a less painful place. It will be easier for you and the artist as well as being less dramatic.

These places happen to be the most popular areas men have tattooed. They are the forearm and the outside of the upper arm. These are generally the easiest places to get tattooed. However, the arms and forearms, as a general rule, are the least painful places. Any spot around a joint such as a wrist or the back of the knee can be extra sensitive. Hands and feet are quite uncomfortable to have tattooed. The ribs are known to be the worst place to get tattooed. This is not only because of sensitivity, but also because of the amount of space being tattooed.

Generally, tattoo designs for the ribs are large in order to cover the entire area well. The front part of the torso is very sensitive. Also you may not be the spring chicken you once were and now find that age has intensified the feeling of getting tattooed. All of these are factors in making tattooing more painful. Tat-tale There once was a man who thought he was so tough, he could get a tattoo from his chest to his wrist, all in one session.

Many people have a reaction to certain reds. That part of the tattoo may take a week or two longer to heal. On rare occasions, the red area in a tattoo will ooze a clear liquid called sebum. It will be a few weeks before the tattoo heals, and it will be uncomfortable while it is healing. Inkformation Staph infection is an infection caused by spherical bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. The bacteria can live on the skin or in the nose of a person and can be the cause of illnesses from skin infections and pimples to pneumonia and toxic shock syndrome.

Sometimes, the tattooed area breaks out in little pimples. This is usually a bad reaction to petroleum-based products, such as the lubrication used during the tattooing or the lotion you use afterward. Stop using the petroleum-based product and switch to a mild, unscented skin moisturizer. The pimples and itch should go away in a few days. If the area does not recover, then see a doctor because it may be a staph bacterial infection. An inexperienced tattooist is more likely to scar a client.

This happens when the tattooist goes too deep or tattoos in one area, overworking and chewing the skin. Also, if you pick the scabs of your tattoo, you can damage your still-healing skin, which will leave a scar and possibly leave a blank spot in your tattoo. Certain parts of the body are more prone to scarring. Skin that is near or on a joint is often tricky to tattoo and can scar easily. The skin over your iliac crest, or your hip bone, is often a tricky spot to tattoo.

Your pants or skirt will rest on this area and will rub against the tattoo while you walk. This makes for a difficult healing process. Usually a piece of plastic wrap placed over the tattoo will block the friction of your clothes. Many people want to have old scars covered up with tattoos.

This is very possible, as we shall see in Chapter 6. Scars are tricky to tattoo over. A scar occurs when the dermis layer of the skin is damaged.


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Collagen, a strong fibrous protein, is made by the body to replace the lost dermis, leaving behind a smooth, discolored patch of skin. Because the melanocyte cells, the melanin-producing cells mentioned previously, may not be replaced, scar tissue is more susceptible to the harmful UV rays of the sun. They are raised up but not solid. With hypertrophic scars, the regenerating skin cells grow larger than they should. For all you weight lifters, this is similar to what happens to your muscles after training.

You end up with larger muscles after an extended period of training. A hypertrophic scar can be tattooed over if it has healed. Usually about 6 months to a year is a long enough healing time, but you should ask your doctor before tattooing over. A keyloid scar is firm and rubbery, and can grow into a benign tumor. The scar can itch or produce a needlelike pain. If scratched, the keyloid can get worse, which makes removing it surgically a problem. Over 50 percent of keyloidremoval surgeries result in another keyloid. This makes tattooing over a keyloid dangerous, and it should be avoided.

Keyloids are used in many tribal cultures as a form of body modification and rites of passage. The skin is lacerated on certain parts of the body to create a puffy skin pattern. This is popular with the Nuba women in Sudan. The puffy keyloid scars depict the passages of life. Unfortunately, this may become extinct due to the atrocities occurring in that country. Stretch marks usually occur around areas of the body that are prone to store fat, such as the stomach, breasts, thighs, hips, and buttocks.

Anytime the skin is stretched beyond its normal capacity, such as during a pregnancy, stretch marks may develop. Many people try to cover stretch marks with tattoos, which works well in distracting the eye away from the scar, but the scar will still be there. The skin develops stretch marks because glucocorticoid hormone, a form of steroid hormone, keeps the skin from producing collagen and elastin fibers, which are key to keeping skin firm as it grows rapidly.

Unable to reproduce or grow fast enough, the dermis will split or crack, like the ground in an earthquake, due to a lack of support. A commonly asked question is whether a tattoo on the stomach will be ruined by stretch marks during pregnancy. This may deter women from getting a tattoo. It is true that stretch marks can run through a tattoo and disfigure the design.

Disfigurement can occur anywhere on the body that you might get stretch marks while pregnant, not just on the stomach. It is possible to have the tattoo fixed or covered with another design. Stretch marks during a pregnancy and the possible ruining of a tattoo can be avoided. Some women are more prone to the scars than others, but steps can be taken to lessen the effect. In the United States, most states will not allow you to give blood for one year after getting a tattoo. If you have a fear of hypodermic needles, then getting a tattoo is a good excuse to not give blood.

However, if you get the tattoo in a tattoo shop that is licensed and state regulated, and the shop is eligible, you can get a voucher to give blood. U Tattoo pigment is held in the skin by phagocytes in the upper layer of the dermis, just below the epidermis. U There are different techniques for tattooing, but using a tattoo machine is by far the most common. U You can have an allergic reaction to a tattoo, but it is rare and easy to deal with. U Most scars that have had time to heal can be tattooed over. The tools the tattooist uses determine how well the tattoo will turn out.

It usually takes years for a tattooist to find the equipment that works the best. Learning how to adjust the equipment to work in just the right way takes lots of time and patience. Years of trying new and different techniques and equipment have led tattooists to be very secretive about the brand of tools and techniques they use. In this chapter, you will get a glimpse of the equipment you will see when you get your tattoo. We will go over the basics of how tattoo machines work and the equipment needed to run them. You may not want to have too many questions running through your head while you are waiting for your tattooist to start tattooing you.

Having a good understanding of the equipment you see during your tattoo will make your experience much less intimidating. The more relaxed you are, the better. The widespread use of electricity brought with it many new inventions that were mass-produced and sold to the public. Western tattooing at this time was taken out of the dark ages: electricity was incorporated into the process of tattooing.

This enabled tattoo artists to work with greater speed, and more customers were able to be tattooed in one day. The world of tattooing was becoming more of an industry. Early entrepreneurs started to make some real money from selling tattoo equipment and tattoo designs. A standard tattoo machine. There are plenty of great artists who use the traditional methods by hand of tattooing; they keep the tradition alive and are sought out by tattoo enthusiasts.

If you walk into any tattoo shop in the world, chances are you will be tattooed with a tattoo machine. It was located in Chatham Square, which is in what is now Chinatown, by the Manhattan entrance to the Manhattan Bridge. This device was based on a rotary system. The needle was attached to a circular spinning device to make it go up and down. This paved the way for many people to become tattooists.

Many other tattoo supply companies began to sell similar machines and equipment. More and more tattoo studios opened and the industry flourished. Thomas Riley of London had the first coil tattoo machine patent, which he got in This patent is closer to modern-day tattoo machines. Over time the electric tattoo machine was tuned and perfected. Tattooists began to develop techniques to make the machine run better. A well-run and well-tuned machine is imperative in making a great tattoo. It will cause less damage to the skin, so the tattoo will heal quickly and look like it did when you left the tattoo shop.

It is a two-coil electromagnet, which turns itself on and off through the breaking of its own circuit, like a doorbell. Electricity is fed to the machine by a clip cord via a power supply, which we will go over later in the chapter. The electricity magnifies the electromagnetic coils and pulls a small metal bar, called an armature bar, down to the coils. The end of the needle bar is attached to the end of the armature bar, so the needle is pushed down and into your skin.

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The instant the needle pushes down, the electric circuit is broken. The magnets turn off and the armature bar and the needle go back up. This happens so rapidly, it creates the infamous buzzing sound you hear in every tattoo shop. The needle pierces your skin approximately 50 times a second.

Depending on the machine, the tattoo design, and the tattooist, that number varies. Some tattooists like to run the machine faster while others prefer a slow and steady technique. Hypodermic needles are really just sharp tubes designed to either take stuff from you, or put something in you. Tattoo needles are only for putting something in you, but unlike the hypodermic needles that go deep into your veins and body tissue, tattoo needles only go into your skin. Tattoo needles do not go very far into your skin, which we learned in the previous chapter.

Needles are very important in the tattoo process. They are the actual device that puts the ink into the skin and causes that lovely feeling of tattooing. They must be sterile and can only be used once on one person. They must be discarded after each use and stored in a sharps conA sharps container is a box, tainer until properly disposed usually made of red or transluof by a special waste disposal cent white plastic, where used company.

The groupneedles that are soldered ing is then soldered to a needle together to make a tattoo bar, which gives the needle that needle. This can be a timeconsuming process and is why some old-timers used to use the same needle all day and only make a new one when that needle was too dull to pierce the skin. Laws have been put in place to keep people from doing that.

Tattoo artists can now simply buy new needles from the many supply companies available. It is easy and cheap to purchase ready-to-use tattoo needles of all different sizes. Needle grouping. Needle bar. There is a whole line of products tattooists can buy that allow the making of needles to be much easier and faster. There are two basic kinds of needles: liners and shaders. There is one needle for making the outline of the tattoo, and one needle to fill in or shade the tattoo.

Many artists, depending on the design, will use different sizes of lining needles to have varied thicknesses in the line weight of the tattoo. Some artists also like to have a small shading needle set up so they can get into the small areas, and a larger shading needle to fill in large open areas of the tattoo. The needle grouping has to be a round shape or the lines of the tattoo will have an uncontrolled calligraphy to them.

The pins have to be in perfect alignment, or they will cause extra damage to the skin. This can cause the tattoo to heal weirdly and may possibly cause scarring. The last thing you want is a scarred tattoo. As we have seen, there are so many different designs and styles in tattooing, as well as the different techniques to do them, that the liner needles must come in many sizes.

Liner needles are categorized by the number of pins in the needle grouping. The number of pins in the needles runs from 1 to about 14 for liners. Some artists may use a larger needle than 14 for lining, but that is rare. They are wide in order to cover more space using fewer pins. The flat shape also helps to create smooth shading.

Shading needles come in many sizes, ranging from 4 to up to over These large needles are the size of your thumbnail. They are generally only used for really large tattoos like a back piece. Some shaders are round in shape like a liner and can be used to line as well. These are good for getting into little corners or to fill in up against a line. Some tattooists prefer round shaders for filling in tribal tattoos. It is up to the artist as to which shape of shader best fits the needs of the tattoo. BcPSa The tube is the part that is held by the tattooist in his or her hands.

It holds and guides the needle as well as gives the machine something to attach to. Tubes are the vessel for the ink from the ink cap to the skin. The tip of the tube, which is where the needle comes out, comes in different sizes in order to accommodate the different needles. After use, tubes are scrubbed and sterilized in order to be used again. These are made entirely of plastic. Plastic tubes can wear down quickly from the friction of the needle, which is problematic for use on long tattoo sessions. A tube by itself is too thin and uncomfortable to hold.

A device called a grip is used to give the tattooist a wider hold on the tube. Grips make it easier for a tattooist to control the direction of the needle. Grips come in A grip is an attachment different shapes and sizes. A power supply is the device that conA clip cord is the wire that veys the electricity from the attaches to the rear of the electrical outlet through a clip power supply by a plug or cord to the machine.

It also two clips, separated by a spring at the end of the cord. Like on a sewing machine, the tattooist uses the pedal to turn the machine on and off. Some tattooists like to have the machine running constantly. They will rig the power supply to run the machine constantly without any foot pedal at all. This forces the tattooist to work faster. Who wants to get tattooed in a dirty shop?

Everything must be clean. The surface area in the tattoo station where your tattoo will be done must be sterile. Sometimes customers will not understand that their blood cannot get on anything, and will allow their bloody tattoo to touch a chair or an armrest. The area that is contaminated with the blood must be sterilized.

To clean a surface properly, Matacide or a dilution of bleach is used. Matacide is a surface cleaner Matacide or the bleach dilution is that kills germs and viruses sprayed on the contaminated surface, such as E. The equipment a tattooist uses must also be clean and sterile. There are two devices that are used to make sure your tattoo is clean and safe: the ultrasonic cleaner and the autoclave. An ultrasonic cleaner is basically a small tub of water that vibrates all the particles out of the tube.

Ultrasonic cleaners are also used to clean the dirt off of jewelry or the paint out of an airbrush. For tubes, a little hand scrubbing with a small brush is usually necessary to loosen up all of the particles. Then the tube is put back in the ultrasonic cleaner to get the rest of the microscopic particles out of the equipment. This ensures clean and safe equipment for every tattoo. They are used in hospitals for sterilizing reusable equipment. Every tattoo shop should have an autoclave on the premises. An autoclave works by heating water in a closed unit until it turns to steam.

The steam then builds up pressure and heat in the contained unit, pushing all of the air out. The steam is heated to degrees Celsius. Bacteria and viruses are then cooked to death as well as suffocated by the lack of oxygen. This lovely device allows tattooists to make sure their needles are sterile. Tubes will also be completely clean and ready to use without the risk of infection. Without ink, you would have to settle for branding and scarification.

Where to buy the best ink, which will be the brightest, and which will last the longest are some of the great secrets. Today, with so many tattoo supply companies, it is easy to find colors and it is up to the tattooist to try to find the best. It is usually used for the entire outline and for the dark shading.

Many people choose to have their entire tattoo done in all black, such as with a tribal tattoo. Black makes the other colors stand out and look brighter. The black ink used in tattoos is a carbon-based black. Usually, some form of Indian ink is used for tattooing. All artists have their own formula for which black they use, so you may see a difference from one artist to the other. Most tattooists will purchase their inks from a supply company, which is quick and easy.

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There are many different colors available for tattooing. The variety of colors gives tattooists more freedom in coloring the tattoo. Some tattooists will mix their own colors from nontoxic pigment powders. These pigments are mixed with water and alcohol until the artist gets the desired consistency. Many artists prefer this method, so they know exactly what is going into the ink they are using.

KINF2015, Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting a Tattoo

Color is just not what they are looking for. Perhaps they are afraid the tattoo will be too bold and bright with color. I have seen this with some Japanese tattoos where the backgrounds are done in black and gray. Gray is an easy color to make. It is like an ink painting or an under-painting. Gray is just black watered down to a certain percentage for varying tones. Some tattooists will add some alcohol for antiseptic reasons. Another way to make a more opaque gray is simply to add a little black to white ink.

This makes that battleship-gray tone, which can be slower to tattoo because it is thick but is brighter in the skin than just a gray wash. U There are basically two types of needles: one type for lining the tattoo and one type for shading the tattoo. John Reardon is a professional tattoo artist who has worked at the yearly gala tatt event at New Yorkas Roseland Ballroom and judged various international contests throughout Europe.

He is also a featured artist at Merlinas Tattoos, the shop showcased in the popular cable show aMiami Ink. John Reardon. Got ink? Expert advice from a high-profile professional? Includes 30 original designs, exclusive to this book? Includes 8-page full-color insert? Millions of people of all ages get inked each year? The Beginning of Tattoos.

Tattoos and Society. Different Styles of Tattooing. Quick Little Ones. How Tattoos Work. Beginning the Tattoo Process. Choosing Your Tattooist. Quality Control.

The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo
The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo
The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo
The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo
The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo
The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo
The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo
The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo

Related The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting a Tattoo



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